1. Reiterate what the “Big Idea” is all about…
I want to leave an impression on people. I want them to rediscover the natural process of curiosity and experimentation that we all display when we are children. Children often play as a way to learn and we can still do that as adults. It’s actually very effective because it keeps us interested. All I want is to remind people of that feeling that the world still has so much left to be discovered and explored that we often experience most strongly when we are young. I see this as a way to prime people to accept new ideas and actually want to learn for themselves. That’s the purpose. I simply provide information about nanotechnology afterwards while they are most open to the ideas.
2. What is your product and what does it mean to you?
It’s a way to open people up to new ideas and introduce nanotechnology to people in a way that isn't boring and doesn't feel like a lecture or lesson plan.
3. What do you hope people take away from interacting with your products?
To put it simply, an appreciation for new ideas.
4. Why do you feel it’s important that your product reaches consumers?
I see ferrofluid as symbolic. I really think it would be a great icon to represent the 21st century, much in the same way motion lamps are considered the icon of the 1960’s counterculture revolution. Motion lamps were this thing that just so happened to come at the right time. People immediately saw it and embraced it as a sort of statement to the zeitgeist of the time. That’s how I feel about ferrofluid at this point in time. It’s truly reflective of the time we are all living in right now.
5. How do your products differ from other motion lamps
For starters, the moving liquid is magnetic. I think that’s a pretty interesting departure from what we are used to seeing. Additionally, motion lamps don’t come with educational material explaining the science behind how they work.
There is actually a few other minor differences that would only be noticeable by motion lamp connoisseurs. For example, most motion lamps these days are very different than what they used to be like back in their heyday in the 60’s. The way the globules’ flow has changed over the years has become a lot less interesting with less curvy shapes and dynamic flow patterns. My ferrofluid motion lamp actually flows in a way that is much more reminiscent of the older motion lamps. This is something I spent a considerable amount of time re-inventing.
6. Are your products for everyone - any age?
The products are only for adults ages 18+, but the concepts behind the products and it’s function as a learning aid or teaching tool isn’t limited to any age.
I believe it’s never too early to begin introducing anybody to new ideas as long as they are interested and you have their attention. My products aren’t meant to be limited to individuals of any age, but there are certain limitations when trying to show it to children. The limitations being children should always handle magnets while under adult supervision because they do pose a potentially serious risk of injury or even death if swallowed. Magnets are also a choking hazard. So this is definitely, not a toy. Although I love the idea of using my products to get young impressionable minds interested in nanotechnology, I can’t in good conscience market directly to them because of the potential risk magnets pose to their well being. Adult supervision is required.
7. What will you do with the money that is pledged?
Buy supplies. I’m very bootstrap at this point. I often have to cut corners and settle for less than I want because I can’t go to certain suppliers with a low volume of orders. Although there is a myriad of things I could spend the money on to improve the products quality and manufacturing process, there is one thing in particular at this point I absolutely must have to continue developing the ferrofluid motion lamp product line. That is the form fitted bottle and light stand combo. For legal reasons I can’t use the popular shape that is normally associated with motion lamps. Acquiring custom molds is impractically expensive. My only real option is to purchase a product that is already being produced and won’t violate intellectual property laws. I've found a source for this from a manufacturer in China, but they require a minimum order quantity.
8. Do you have any closing remarks...People to thank? Call-to-action?
Yes, I want to thank all those who came before me and all those who actively make science simple, fun and interesting. Particularly, my professor at Penn State who often encouraged thinking of these concepts in the form of "cartoons." That has helped me a lot.
As for my call to action...
I believe the future will be AMAZING and I want to encourage everybody to play a part in helping shape it!